September 21, 2020

NATO and Australia draw closer

NATO SG Jens Stoltenberg & Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds – Picture by 

Wednesday, 7 August 2019, Sydney, New South Wales, Commonwealth of Australia: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was in Australia for a two days visit wherein he signed a novel agreement with Australia on security matters. 

Stoltenberg encountered the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and other senior officials in Sydney for the inking of NATO’s and Australia’s “enhanced partnership plan”.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has spent the past three decades building partnerships with non-member countries in a bid to improve the way military forces operate together and manage crises.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg moreover attended a series of meetings with Australian foreign and defence officials in Canberra on Thursday, and spoke at the Australian National University.

NATO’s  chief discussed with Australian officials the growing role and influence of Russia and China, the continuing threat of terrorism and the complex issue of cyber conflict. The fight against the Islamic State is not over, Stoltenberg reminded Australians, although significant progress had been made in reducing the terrorist organisation’s scale and influence.

Australia contributes around 300 personnel to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, as well as funding for Afghan defence and security forces.

Likewise Iran was high on the agenda during the meetings as Australia weighs up a Trump administration request to provide military ships to help protect commercial vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.

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